Age Appropriate chores for young children

Age appropriate chores for children are so important!  They help us to raise children that work hard and are not spoiled.

Chores by age

Children need chores. Age appropriate chores are important for kids! They make them feel needed and helpful. They teach responsibility. They are important. If your children learn to help now, you will have children that will be able to work later, allowing them the ability to work hard and keep a job, or work hard to keep their marriage strong. Teach them to work hard now – and do it for the Glory of the one who made them.

As hard as it is, do not do everything for your children! Let them do what they can.

Remember the quote: fish for me & feed me for a day…. teach me to fish & feed me for a lifetime. (unknown source) How true with our children!

bench storage organizing home for kids 015
Before I begin with our list, you need to know that your children were not born knowing how to do these chores. You must walk them through it, teach them how you want it done. Do this with each chore until you have gone through them all (just do one or two a day).

Our chores are listed on index cards & placed in a basket. 

Chore Basket

The basket is in a place that they can reach it (we keep our in our pantry). When it is “time to do your chores”, they grab the basket themselves & bring it to the table. They close their eyes, reach in and pick from this basket…

The 3 and 4 year old will pick out one chore.
A 5-6 year old will pick out two chores.
A 7-8 year old would pick out two-three chores.

THE CHORES ON THE CARDS IN OUR BASKET INCLUDE: (Remember, make your bed/clean your room/empty the dishwasher … are not CHORES.  They are daily responsibilities.  They are not on this list, because they are habits.  We do them daily)


  • Clean the shutters behind the kitchen table (their food gets on these from their sticky hands!) :)
  • Clean out everything UNDER your bed.
  • Wipe bathroom sink and vanity in main bathroom & their bathroom.
  • Clear & clean the table after dinner
  • Sweep hallway upstairs with broom & dustpan
  • Put away ALL shoes in garage by the door (we have 3 spots for shoes – they each have their own baskets at these places, so its easy to do & takes a second to put them away)
  • Clean the outside of the toilet (bottom too) in those same bathrooms.
  • “I love you- pick another chore, please!” (this is on 2 cards, just for a reminder)
  • Sweep the kitchen floors
  • Sweep the hallway upstairs
  • Clean out the van (bring in all garbage, coats, shoes…) – I do this same chore on 3 cards, so they could even both get them & do it together.  Its a big job. 
  • Empty all garbage in the bathrooms and their bedroom into one big garbage bag (getting garbage from all cans)
  • Bring the garbage can up from the street after the garbage truck comes (it might be heavy to take it down while it is filled, but even our four year old can bring it up for us when it is empty… and we have a steep driveway).
  • Clean the steps with a broom and then a damp rag (wooden steps).  If you have carpet- have them use a damp sponge to get the dirt or pet hair if you have a pet.  Have them use a small vacumn if you have one (the tiny kind for steps & small areas)
  • Pick up everything on pantry floors (our art supplies are in there, so coloring books and crayons end up on the floors a lot)
  • Sweep the front porch
  • Sweep the back porch
  • Dust furniture in the room that mom or dad pick (they use a sock on their hands)
  • Pick up toys (even if you didn’t make the mess!) on the living room floor
  • Organize the mud room bench (see make a mudroom bench to see how we made it) – they hang up coats, put shoes in the right baskets, hang up their backpacks under the correct name…I made this chart for you – you can print it here: CHORES BY AGE
    Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 9.17.11 PM

** Keep reading for younger kids chores…

For a 3 year old…   Our 3 year old would usually pull out a chore card, but I would make up one since he couldn’t read it.  I would say something like “go pick up the blankets and put them away.”  Or “Pick up the pillows on the floor”.  Something easy and safe that he can do without help.

That’s it- Our older children get 3 chores a day in the summer and two chores a day during the school year.  We used to give an extra chore for complaining, but we no longer do this because they have since become very proud of their work and they seem to enjoy helping and like to show us how well they’ve done.  They like being a part of what helps to keep everything going and they see that when they help us do chores, we all have more time to play together. 

We also have “daily responsibilities”. These are done on a daily basis. These include: Make bed, clean up room, clean up after every meal- just your stuff (plates, napkins, cups) , put clothes away (I put them into their own baskets & they are waiting for them by their dressers), unload the dishwasher with me, get dressed before you go downstairs in the morning on school days, brush teeth & use mouthwash.  These are not chores- they are done ON TOP of their “picked” chores.

I hope that helped you to create some age Appropriate chores for kids. :)  I would LOVE to hear what chores you have your children do in your house!!  I am always revisiting our chores and editing them to their ages.

If you are debating chores because it is as much work to get your kids to help you as it is to just do it yourself, I want to encourage you to read this post – STOP doing that for your kids. 

stop doing that for your kids

Do you want to see more kid ideas?  My favorite kid ideas below…. 

Here is the reward system that we use with our kids- it works wonders! 

reward system for kids

The day that we stopped using a Chore Chart… 
stopped using chore charts

Teaching a child to keep their room clean




  1. Jamie says

    This is great! My kids are 3 and 5, I am such a slacker when it comes to daily chore for them, although I do make them make their beds, clear the table, and pick up toys. I love the chore in a basket method, thanks for sharing!

    Bugs and Beans

  2. says

    Great idea! I like this better than a chart! My girls are awesome at folding clothes! I have also taught my four oldest kids to wash dishes. Sweeping the driveway is another one the kids help with.
    I can’t wait to try this method instead of a chart!
    Thanks for the idea:)

  3. says

    Great article thanks! I am changing up chores and the way we do things for my son now that he is not in Kindergarten anymore. Now what about allowances? Do you give those and how much?

  4. Adrienne says

    Great tips! My boys (4 & 6) have chores:
    Feed dog twice a day – water too!
    Recycling weekly
    Laundry ( my 6 year old does this – brings the basket to the laundry room, puts in washer, adds soap, turns it on (with my help), switches it over to dryer, brings basket back up, helps fold and puts it away for him and his brother.
    They also put groceries away, clear the table, sweep the floors, dust, and water the plants. I think I will a few more after reading this!

  5. Megan says

    My two year old daughter takes her dishes (she has plastic plates, cups, bowls ect) and puts them away in her own drawer. She also washes her table after meals and helps sweep, wipe counters/ cupboards ect. She loves to clean! If she spills she says “wash” and grabs a washcloth or paper towel and cleans it up :)

  6. Mama Huggs says

    I have a 15mo and a 2.5yo. Plus my brother-in-law lives in our house. He’s 16yo with a learning disorder so on some things he’s about 6yo and others he is 16yo. When did you start giving you baby chores?

    • Mama Huggs says

      The 16yo helps with laundry & unloads the dishwasher. The 2.5yo puts his dishes in the sink and helps me put the soap (finish powerball or gel pack) in the dishwasher. He also helps me when I switch the laundry by pushing the wet clothes into the dryer or bringing me dirty clothes from the basket. What are some age appropriate chores I could give the baby to get him involved in helping?

  7. says

    I love this! I have tried to do chores a few different ways before, including the framed chart with a dry erase maker. It ended up becoming just another coloring board for the kids! I love that they feel some atoning by being able to pick their own chores and so I laughed when you said you make up the chore for your 3yo! I have one who is 3 and duh!… She can’t read lol I will def be trying this method! Thanks.
    Do you mind if I share this on my blog? ( linked to this article)

  8. amlanders says

    This is a great idea! Honestly, I have a hard time keeping up with a chore chart for my kids. This will be a very happy medium!

  9. Sarah says

    I love this idea. Right now I have our chores listed on a poster board and they choose the easiest one and do it over and over… This would help get some of the other chores done too! I offer 25 cents a completed chore. If the chore wasn’t completed correctly and they have to go back and re-do it, they only get 10 cents. And if I have to make them go back a 3rd time, then they just did the chore for free! I also charge 25 cents for lying (because they just wasted my valuable time) so they have to work hard save up money! lol
    I have folding and putting away a basket of towels listed as a money making chore for my 7 yr old. And both my kiddos (4 and 7) wipe down the kitchen cabinets (the ones they can reach are the dirtiest ones!!). They also wipe down base boards and wood furniture with an old rag that I spray with pledge :) They are quite helpful when guests are coming and I have a ton of catch up cleaning to do!!

  10. monique says

    Cute…. and very helpful(i ended up here from another post but happen to read some of the comments and I have a suggestion (I did this when my kids were tiny (they are now almost 13 & almost 11)I did have chores for them but since the found read I would include a picture/clipart of the chore I wanted done (it worked….. mostly) it helped them to see it (it was written as well, for when they learned to read)
    Just my 2cents.

    AWESOME ideas…… been reading quite a few thanks

  11. Tina says

    I think this is great, but apart from asking my children to take their plates to the sink after dinner they do very little in the way of chores, practically nothing. I would love to introduce this, but am a little scared if I’m honest at dealing with the reactions. My son is 9 and has adhd, my daughter is 7 and I have a 2 year old girl.

  12. says

    These are great ideas to get the little ones involved in chores!

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  13. Kathy says

    When my daughter was young she was reponsible for making her own bed. Being only three or four years old, she could not do it very neatly. I would walk by her room and straighten it out. One day she told me ” you know Mom, when you fix my bed it makes me feel like I’m not doing a good job.” she was doing her best and I was telling her that wasn’t good enough. I never fixed her bed again.

  14. Jessica says

    I have all our chores drawn as well–written on Popsicle sticks and some of them have a circled T on them (like folding laundry) if someone draws one of these sticks, they also draw a green stick that has a number between 10 and 30 on it (in increments of five). All the sticks are placed in a large soup can that has a smaller can glued inside it. Finished chores go in the little can so they don’t get drawn again. It makes chores a game (thank you, Ms Poppins) even for me!

  15. Kristy says

    Hi Becky, I have a very strong-willed 2.5 year old boy (oldest of two) who is definitely ready and capable enough to start chores. How do I even get him to start? Sometimes he cleans up willingly. Many times he just flat out says no or ignores me.if I don’t do it it’ll just sit around. I don’t know how to transition him into doing chores consistently without any fuss… To just make it “something you do”

    • says

      Just ask him- tell him “grab your plate” every time that he finishes eating. It just becomes a habit. Our daughter turned two in August and she just follows her brothers- it isn’t even like she knew that she had a choice- she just cleans up because it is ‘what we do’, so to say. I would just make it as common as using a fork. :)

  16. Jesse says

    my son is 2 1/2. He helps feed his fish, pick up laundry and put it in the hamper, helps put the wash in and out of the washer (front loader) he picks up his toys, he ‘sweeps’ up with a hand broom, he puts dishes in the sink, heck, he will even carry mommy and daddy’s to the sink if we don’t get on it when he thinks we should, had to curb him from taking plates with food still in it! He throws out garbage when asked, picks up his bathroom toys. Some of these things he just naturally wanted to do, and we encouraged him and help him, they toys we make a game out of it. Lots of cheering. Now if potty training would just go smoother…

  17. Brandi says

    Question. What did you do when they wouldn’t do their chores? And, during school days when do you have them do the chores, before or after school?

    • says

      They didn’t get ANY privileges. No snacks in between meals, no electronics at all, no playing with friends, etc…

      On school days- they do the dishwasher as a group in the morning. They do the rest after dinner, all at the same time. :)

  18. Brooke says

    I just found your site and I love it!

    How do your children help unload the dishwasher? Most of the things I put in our dishwasher are stored in the upper cabinets: cups, plates, and tupperware.

    Also, do you keep a stool near the sink so they can prerinse their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher?

    • says

      Oh! check out my series on 40 days to organization (I talk about how I have my kitchen organized). I keep their plates, bowls and cups in the lower cabinets. They do pre-rinse their bowls themselves. (They just open the cabinet door & stand on the bottom of it)


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